Articles of Faith: Ten

15 Apr

In my first post of this series I went over the origin and history of the Articles of Faith. I have also discussed Article of Faith 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Today I will discuss briefly the tenth of the Articles, as given below.

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.

We are now coming to what might be called the peripherals of the gospel. We started with those essential elements; God, the Atonement, the First Principles and Ordinances. We then went to the workings of the church in the organization, authority, and revelation. These things set up the church itself, its foundation and workings. Now we receive those things that are not directly related to the church and its operation. Do not mistake this as things that are not doctrine or not essential. The last four articles speak of doctrines, and are essential to the gospel.

So, let us examine the various doctrines.

First, the Gathering of Israel. Many Christians at that time of Joseph Smith, and even today, believed that church was the Gathering of Israel. They held that the Gathering was a spiritual gathering, and so when one accepted Christ they became part of the Gathering. However, we believe in the Literal Gathering. This means that we believe not in a Spiritual Gathering, but in the truth that those who are descended from Israel will be physically gathered together and separated from those who are not descended from Israel. This was started with the call to move to Ohio, and continues today as Israel is called to gather at the stakes of Zion. It most definitely matters that we heed to call to gather when it is given.

This ties in with the restoration of the ten tribes. For Israel to be gathered all twelve tribes must be gathered, and thus the ten that we taken captive to Assyria must also be gathered. However, their restoration is much greater than just being a part of the gathering, and that is why it was listed separately. We read in 2 Nephi 29 12-14

For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.

And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.

And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one. And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against my people, who are of the house of Israel, that I am God, and that I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever.

I believe that the restoration of the Ten Tribes is the revelation of their records; the bringing to light of their history that has been lost. It could be said that the Nephites and Lamanites have been restored because knowledge of them is now on the Earth again. We believe not only that Israel with be gathered, but that all their history and all their scriptures and prophecies will be restored to the Earth that all may know them.

The Building of Zion, as spoken of in this Article, speaks directly to the City of Zion, or New Jerusalem, that will be built. It does not speak to the condition of the saints as being all of one mind, but a literal city that is to be built. Enoch prophesied of this city. Moses 7: 62

And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.

This city will be built on the American Continent, specifically in Jackson County, Missouri, near Independence. (D&C 57: 3) While most churches look to the Middle East for the fulfillment of all God’s promises, we look to the United States as well. That must be understood. We look to both locations, for the old Jerusalem will also be rebuilt. But we also look to the United States, for it is here that the New Jerusalem will be build.

We also believe that Christ will reign personally upon the Earth. We mean by this that Christ, when he returns, will stay on this earth. He will live here, not just visit. Not only will he live here, but he will claim his right to rule over all the earth. He will be the sovereign and all men will be under his dominion. This is not just Spiritual dominion, but civic and secular dominion. He will reign as King over all men and a pure theocracy will be established.

Lastly, we believe the earth will be restored and receive its paradisiacal glory. The restoration of the Earth means that it will be restored to its original perfection that it had when it was a paradise before the fall. The continents will come back together; the mountains about the tree lines will fall; there will not be a single potion of the earth that is not capable of fully sustaining life. It will then be restored to the state of paradise it was in. Disease will not be known; aging will not cause any difficulties; animals will not kill each other for food; man and beast will live in harmony. We are now in a Telestial world. but the Earth, when restored, will enter into a Terrestrial state and receive its glory. (Note that this is called the Earth’s glory, and thus we also believe that this is the Earth’s right to inherit this, thus indicating that the Earth is an entity in itself.)

You may notice that everything in this article is dealing with the second coming and millennium. We are not talking about the final state of things, but the state during those thousand years between Christ’s coming and the final judgement. This is our article of faith regarding this important event and time.


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